Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Retool America

The image size is 11x13 on 300g acid-free art paper. The print size is 12x17.5. It's partly a halftone screen with large dots. I ran an edition of 50 for this print with a preferred edition on better paper of 15. It was one of five winners in the "Green Economy" category of Manifest Hope. I am going for a combination of art-for-the-people type political propaganda and pop art.

I spent about 8 or 9 hours working on this design mostly because of the rendering of America, which I wanted to look like the top of a bolt but still look iconic. I also wanted to get the perspective just right. I just started working in Gimp software after using Photoshop for ages so there was a lot of learning the tools involved. By the time I was done, I hated the picture. But the next day I loved it again and I submitted it to Manifest Hope.

The inspiration for this piece is the crisis with the automobile manufacturing industry. I also write a blog about global warming and have written quite a bit about how American auto manufacturers have not been making cars that would address the needs of the present or future, especially considering how fuel inefficient and polluting they are. I figured it would be a cap-and-trade bill that forced the industry to transform, as such a bill would inevitably increase the cost of fossil fuels to be equivalent to alternatives like electricity from clean sources. I had not counted on the current economic crisis, but either way, the need to retool is readily apparent. I see this as an opportunity to produce more mass transit, convert vehicles to electric, improve the electricity grid, and install new renewable sources of energy into the grid. I think this is the next great wave of the American economy, and part of what will restore our standing in the world. These ideas are integrated into the Democratic Party platform and are a big part of our next President's plan. It makes me excited that Barack Obama also has this vision, and I feel like as an artist and an environmental scientist I want to do everything I can to manifest this future.

This print was also accepted by "Art of Change" and can also be viewed at the Artists' Inaugural Ball.

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